Friday, June 3, 2011


The food battle. If you are a parent, you know that meals can quickly turn into World War III. Especially if you have a toddler, who are known for their fickle palettes. Emma is a toddler in every sense of the word. She has perfected the fine art of table warfare. And she fights dirty.

Example: For the entire month of March she likes cheese. She'll eat it with no problem, whether it be mixed in with her eggs, on top of a pizza, or just cubed for a snack. She greets her cheesy meals with a sweet smile and an even sweeter "Thank you Mommy!" All is right with the world.

In April, you might make her a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. HOW. DARE. YOU. Tears spring from her eyes, fists began to pound, and that sweet little tot throws an emotional fit that would put any middle-school girl to shame. Through the wails and gnashing of teeth, you try to bargain, plead, and model just how good this meal is. You stupidly try to reason with your two-year-old (But you like this! I promise!) until you admit defeat and let her finish her meal that consists of the vegetables or fruit that accompanied the offending sandwich.

Fast-forward to May. You go to your mother's/sister's/friend's house for lunch or dinner. They tell you that they have graciously made your child a grilled cheese sandwich since she probably won't like the meal that is planned. After thanking your host for their thoughtfulness, you gently warn them about your April experience and brace yourself for the scene that is about to unfold. The plate is set in front of her and you look around for a place to duck for cover when she sends that sandwich flying. Without fail, she will smile, thank them, and scarf that sandwich down like she's starving. And she'll probably ask for seconds.

After experiencing the above scenario more times than I can count, I try not to stress about meals. However, we do have a hard and fast rule in our house when it comes to meals: You must TRY everything on your plate. If you don't like it, that's ok. Just try it and see. Another rule is that you may not have more of something unless you have tried all of everything. Emma will often eat all of her favorite thing on her plate, like watermelon, without touching anything else. This is the source of most of our "food fights."

Today I gave Emma her lunch of tuna melts, grapes and Pirate's Booty. She devoured her fruit in record time, then moved on to her popcorn. As usual, she asked for more grapes.

Nope, sorry. Eat some of your tuna melt (which she has had and liked before), and you can have more grapes. Please refer to "April" to see how she took this bit of information.

I told her that I was going to clean up and if she ate some of her tuna melt by the time I finished, she could have some more grapes. Otherwise, I know she isn't really hungry and lunch will be over as is.

This was her passive-aggressive way of telling me "No way, Mom." Please note the placement of the tuna melt.
Some might call this typical toddler behavior. I call it stubborn. My mom calls it payback.

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